CARY — At the Cary Quilting Company, colorful fabric lines the walls, and natural light streams through large windows.
Julianne Walther opened the shop in January on the first floor of a historic house in downtown Cary. The space is also home to her other business, Patchwork Memories, which produced more than 300 quilts and stuffed bears last year.
Walther created Patchwork Memories in 2005 and moved it downtown in November, after the business outgrew the basement of her Cary home.
Now, Cary Quilting Company sells fabrics, patterns and other notions. The shop also offers free space for quilters to work and classes for wanna-be quilters with all levels of experience. Walther plans to add classes for kids.
Q: What made you decide to open Cary Quilting Company?
We originally started looking for a retail space for Patchwork Memories. When we called the landlord of the Etc. Crafts house, he thought it was a great idea to have a quilt store back in the building.
We went in with the idea that we would try to open a quilt store on the first floor, but we didn’t expect to do it so fast. There was a need for a quilt shop back in Cary because after Etc. Crafts closed in 2009, the Cary community didn’t really have a quilt shop.
Q: What makes your store unique?
I really want to be connected to downtown Cary. That is one thing that sets us apart from other quilting stores that are in a strip mall or an industrial area.
I think we’re unique in that we do fit into the downtown feel because the house is a historical property. I like being part of the town, and I want my quilters to feel like they’re a part of this town, too. … Having a more modern and trendy, youthful atmosphere and having bright, vibrant colors and fun classes and offering things for kids is the vibe we’re going for.
Q: What’s the walking feet club all about?
I’m a runner, so I wanted to find a way to get the quilting community to get moving a little more.
I just thought if we do this, park in my parking lot and walk through downtown Cary, they will have already walked two miles and then they can come sit in the classroom and work on a hand-sewing project or hang out.
Q: What do you love most about quilting?
I love putting the fabric together. I love coming up with original ideas. … I love helping people look for new patterns or helping people match a fabric or watching customers come up with fabric combinations that I would never think of.
Q: What would surprise people about quilting?
The fact that it’s not that image of 25 women with gray hair sitting around a quilt frame.
There are still hand quilters, but that image is not really accurate anymore. Machine quilting is really taking hold. I think the technology would surprise people.